What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can they experience it? What will it mean for their future? And what does the good news have to do with everyday life? These large and basic questions from Paul’s agenda in Romans—anagenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes.
Two years ago we started into the book of Romans, working our way verse-by-verse through the letter. This year, we pick up where we left off and keep moving forward into chapters 5 to 8.
Romans ch1-4 Recap - Jeremy Duncan
Paul went from persecutor and supporter of violence against the Jews to leader and evangelist of the budding new Christian church. It was not a smooth transition, and his personality still remained, but we can see that Paul was welcomed into a transformative relationship with Jesus and it forever changed him and the world.
Romans 5:1-11 - Joel Braun
In this chapter is the famous verse about rejoicing in suffering because suffering produces perseverance, perseverance; character, and character; hope. We spent time talking about how true hope is formed from our character that is made stronger by persevering through suffering. God rebuilds us, remakes us, and renews our hearts and minds into new versions of ourselves that have access to this true hope.
Romans 5:12-21 - Jeremy Duncan
In the second half of this chapter, Paul goes on to say that despite the sin and brokenness present in and all around us, there is hope and healing available to us through Christ. Everything has been marred by sin, but at the same time, everything is being reconciled to God.
Romans 5:20-6:18 - Jeremy Duncan
This week, as we moved into chapter 6, we saw how Paul explores the relationship between grace, and how we live in the world. Paul uses baptism to describe leaving our old life behind to move onto something new. And this process of leaving— of leaving behind old habits, harmful tendencies, and things that pull us away from love— this is only significant if we are also moving towards faithfulness. And, although death and pain is still present all around us, we can know that death is not all that it claims to be.
Romans 6:23 - 7:25 - Jeremy Duncan
This story of grace changes everything. But the question is, how do we live as if we are freed from sin when sin surrounds us? This is the tension that Paul leans into as we continue into chapter 7. This section of Romans shows us a side of Paul we may be unfamiliar with— someone who is frustrated, and confused, and distressed. However: despite all of Paul’s frustration with himself, we see that he holds onto the hope that God is fundamentally committed to saving us from the worst of ourselves. Our choices have consequences, but God is on our side, always.
Romans 8 - Jeremy Duncan
Paul's big idea in chapter 7 was that God gave us the law to show us what’s good, but the law can’t help us do what’s good— only love can do that. Now, in chapter 8, Paul explores big ideas about how God plans to redeem all of creation. God’s sovereignty is expressed in both the divine redeeming action in the world around us as well as in mysterious love. God never causes our pain— but he never leaves us alone in it.